- Research in hybrid breeds demonstrates these tend to be more vigorous than the parent subspecies and can yield significantly larger crops of rice.
- Scientists from the National Centre of Plant Gene Research at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan and the Chinese University of Hong Kong examined two subspecies of the cultivated rice (Oryza sativa L.), japonica and indica, and identified three genes that act together to regulate fertility in these hybrids.
- The researchers homed in on a specific region of the rice chromosome, S5, which they had previously associated with hybrid sterility. They found three tightly linked genes – ORF3, ORF4, and ORF5 – that control fertility in indica-japonica rice hybrids.
Understanding the cause of the sterility may allow scientists to overcome it. This could help in the development of more resilient and higher-yielding cultivated rice crops, providing one more tool to achieve the needed increase in caloric production to feed a growing global population.